Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Question Friday

Hi! I know I've been MIA for a while, I've been trying to find my groove with writing blog posts that aren't horrific. Good news is that this morning I spent the better part of an hour editing posts that I had written a while back (some of them a couple of years ago right after I started the blog), so you will have actual posts. Like 3 + weeks of posts. Scary right.

We have no big plans for New Years. My husband went to the doctor yesterday for as sore throat, (and they swabbed him, bet he won't complain about that again). Thankfully no strep, instead he has pneumonia. Yet they are letting him stay at home. So I'm going to make him sit around and be a bum so that hopefully he can get rid of this gunk.

Have a Happy New Year!!

1. What's the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?
Hmmm, I have a couple of shirts that I bought 5+ years ago. There is a box out in the garage that has some dresses and stuff that don't fit that I just refuse to get rid of from when my husband and I first got married. I'm hoping that those become a regular in my closet sooner rather than later. If the number on the scale stays the same, these clothes are going to go to goodwill next summer. I'm tired of the boxes sitting in my garage taking up space.

2. How many random blog readers have you met?

Not a single solitary one. But I only have like 20 readers, unless you count my husband, and then I live with him. I guess I could make up something here and lie, so I'm going to say I've met at least 200 readers, and they all love me. : )

3. Do you let your kids stay up till midnight on New Years Eve? (Or, if you don't have kiddos yet, did you get to stay up until midnight as a child?)

My mom let me stay up. She wasn't a stickler for bedtimes on the weekends or holiday breaks. I could stay up until 3am and sleep until noon if I wanted too. And during the summer, I did. Now, we barely make it to midnight. Although, the last few months I find ourselves still up at 3am on a Saturday night. We get busy trying to cram something into our day that we end up staying up and sleeping in. And skipping out on church. Oops.

4. What are the gas prices where you live?

Gas this morning at the Wally World was 2.91. They are still doing the 10 cents off  if you get a gift card at the store closest to our house, so if you go through all of that hassle it's actually 2.81. I'll take it. However, my parents live in a small town 45 minutes away, and gas there is between 3.10 and 3.19 for unleaded.

5. What is one resolution that you know you should do but are too afraid to try?
I found this blog, totally by accident (and apparently I didn't save the link) and this family is giving up their TV for a year. Sunday their cable will be canceled and there tv's will all be locked in storage for a year. They are trying to bring their family closer together as well as hopefully be more proactive in some behavior changes that they would like to implement in their children's attitude. The only TV that they will have access to is one computer that is capable of playing DVD's.
While I have no desire to give up tv completely, I wouldn't mind giving it up a couple of days a week. Because having less time to watch tv, I would cut out quite a bit that I don't really care if I watch or not. I would be able to watch only the stuff I love, like CSI, The Pioneer Woman, and Criminal Minds. My husband is a complete TV-aholic and I can't imagine him giving up his TV time, say 2 nights a week. He drove me crazy that it took us 2 weeks to get our tv set up and working when we moved. He whined (sorry babe, but you did), and whined and whined about finding the stand so that we could get it set up. It's a miracle that he lived through it. It's a miracle that I lived through it. Tv, I could live without, but radio, Ipod, laptop. I'm not sure if I could survive without those or not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Adventure with Yeast

To kick off my Christmas vacation and to prepare myself for the upcoming holiday. I decided, well, actually I had promised my husband months ago that while I was out of school I would make him cinnamon rolls. From scratch. Using yeast.

Yeast and I had never been properly introduced so I was a little nervous taking him out for our first date. My type A personality likes things very black and white. When it says double, I want to be able to take a measuring take and see that in fact it has grown from 6 to exactly 12 inches. Anything less than that or more than that is cause for panic. Baking requires you to let go and not assume that your results will always follow the recipe, or the picture. It's enough to drive a person to drink.

So I dig out the rusty, trusty, and slightly dusty (note to self: dust more) cookbook. I make the trek to the store to gather the needed ingredients and then I set off to work. As I read over the directions and estimated the total time required for these beauties, and the yeast to work it's magic, I figured that these would be no problem to whip out in an afternoon.

I followed the directions, and even went so far as to get out my thermometer to test the waters to make sure that the liquid was the perfect temperature for the yeast to do it's thing. Everything was perfect. All the planets were aligned, angels were singing, it couldn't have been more perfect. So I added the flour. Lovingly placed a clean towel over the dough, and set it in my oven so that it had a warm draft free place to rise for the next 60 minutes. I even set the timer on the microwave so that I wouldn't forget and later discover that the dough had taken over my oven and was attempting to grow to fit my house.

Cue Jeopardy music.

Ding Ding Ding!!!

Now it was time. I just knew that when I opened the oven and pulled the dough out that it would have risen to a lovely level and it would just be perfect. I held my breath in anticipation. I quickly whisked the towel away...

Holy Mother Fluffer Nutter!!!

The freaking yeast was apparently pissed. Because it might have risen .2 inches. Might.

Well played yeast, well played.

So I thought, well, it's a little humid, it's a little blah blah blah. We will just poke it back in the oven and see what happens.

Cue Jeopardy music. Lots and lots of Jeopardy music. Like 4.5 hours of music. Finally it had risen enough that I was going to pretend that it was doubled in size. Thankfully my recipe had a get out of jail free card. You could add the remaining dry ingredients and then you could put the dough in the refrigerator and you had 3 days to use it. Awesome. Because now it's 9pm, and I don't want to stay up until 2 am making cinnamon rolls.

So I added the ingredients. Well, the dough was a little too dry for their to be any stirring involved. So I basically had to manipulate it in my hands (aka knead) to get those ingredients incorporated. I plopped the dough in a bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Figuring I would tackle it when I got home from work yesterday.

That is until some unknown force caused me to open the door to the refrigerator at 11 pm. Uh, you remember that dough that wouldn't rise. Well, it was rising now. Like another 1.5 hours and it would have taken over a shelf in my fridge.

Nuts and bolts!

So after a reluctant call to my mother, and some relaying of information. I discovered what I did wrong (apparently the yeast is like a man and likes to be played with before you can expect him to rise to the occasion). So we divided the dough up into 4 bowls (just to be on the safe side), and hoped that it wouldn't take over my fridge during the wee hours of the night.

Thankfully the dough didn't take over my fridge, and half of it has already been made, baked and shipped off to it's new home. Round 2 will commence tonight. I'm thankful that I have tackled this cooking adventure. I'm thankful that the dough didn't wind up in the dumpster.

Yeast 1 - Abby 0

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Question Friday

Hi! ::waves hands:: Did you miss me?

I'm done with school for a little over a month, now it's just waiting for the grades. Which I'm starting to think is worse than actually going to class.

I've got a ton of blog posts written. Ones that I had planned on editing a little and then posting, but I just never got around to it. But not to worry, I'm hoping I can manage an entire semester next go round of posts for you. You might be reading about Christmas adventures in May, but hey, it's better than a blank screen.

Big plans this weekend. My husband and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary on Sunday! Eek! It's hard to believe that its been that long ago. I'm also doing some cooking. Well, lots of cooking. Cinnamon rolls, fudge, cookies, oh my! And delivering a whole lotta Scentsy. I had a couple of parties the first of the month that I finally got the orders in, and I have a lot of people to drop off their loot this weekend! I love getting orders in, it's like Christmas!  I bought my new Christmas warmer and it's absolutely beautiful. It's white with snowflakes and when you turn it on the light shows up the snow flakes brilliantly! I want to leave it out all year, but John kinda protested last night. I'm hoping to grab some pictures this weekend! It's beautiful!

1. What's the best Christmas present you've ever received?

There have been a lot of great things that I have gotten over the years. But there really isn't one specific thing that stands out. John always gets me something that I will love, and my grandmother does an awesome job with getting me the best and neatest kitchen accessories that a girl could ask for. My parents always have something that's totally unique and off the wall too.

This year, I'm getting a Nook, or a Kindle. I'm not sure which yet. Because of school and the universities affiliation with Barnes and Noble, I'll probably go with a Nook. (Think cheap text books.) John's going to add a new firearm to his collection. Yippee. Actually, I'm finally thrilled that he has something he is excited about. It's nice that he has a hobby that he can share with my grandfather, and that keeps him from driving me crazy. Now, if only I could get him to love to read.

2. Worst/Funniest White Elephant gift ever received?

When I was in high school, my youth group at church did an exchange of white elephant gifts. I ended up with a tumbleweed that had been spray painted gold. It had ornaments on it and everything. It was funny and awful at the same time. I'm just thankful that I didn't end up with the gold cow pie.

3. Is your Christmas tree plain and simple (white lights and matching ornaments) or is it wild and crazy (colored lights with lots of ornaments collected over the years)?

We have a wild and crazy tree with 12 years worth of ornaments on it. When we got married we started our collection of ornaments. We have discussed doing something a little less crazy next year, but our tree is pre-lighted with multi colored lights. So I'm guessing until our tree dies, that we are going with wild and crazy!

4. "How" do you iron your clothes? The old fashioned iron/ironing board way, the shower, back in the dryer, etc.

Is this a trick question?

I have an iron. I have an ironing board. I do not use it to iron clothes. Period. If I buy something that has to be ironed, it hangs in my closet until I am tired of it collecting dust and then off to Goodwill it goes. I don't iron. Period.

I'm probably about to be stoned for saying this, but - I think it's a waste of time. You can buy clothes today that are made to withstand wrinkles. You can buy washing machines and dryers that steam your clothes so that you don't have to iron. And if you don't have the fancy equipment, a damp towel and 10 minutes in a hot dryer works the same way.

I only have an iron to press my cross stitch pieces before I frame them. But technically it only works as my dryer, since I wash everything before I frame it.

5. How much baking do you do for Christmas and what are your "must make" items? (I'm looking for recipes here, peeps...)
I try to bake quite a bit. But this year, with school and work, the baking hasn't even began. So I'm cutting way, way back.
I'm making cinnamon rolls this weekend. I promised my husband, and my friend Andrea that they could have cinnamon rolls. It's my first attempt using yeast. I hope I don't destroy my kitchen.
I usually make fudge. Last year I made 4 different kinds all total and divided them up between us and both of our offices. We had fudge running out of our ears. This year. Well I'm making 3-4 kinds. I'm dividing it up between 8 families. So I'm making a bunch of it. Hopefully no overload. Not sure the flavors yet. I have a lemon fudge, and a cookies and cream that both sound full of awesome, and then theirs the old standbys. 
My standbys are Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge. If you are on a diet (or trying to pretend to be on a diet) this is the fudge for you. It's not perfect, but it is more diet friendly than most and it's a breeze to make.
1 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup fat free evaporated milk
2 tbsp reduced calorie margarine
12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
14 large marshmallows

Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Dump everything but the chocolate and marshmallows in a pan. Cook over low until everything is dissolved. Once you have lost the "grainy" look, dump in the chocolate (I use a bag of chocolate chips, no chopping). Stir until melted. Add marshmallows. I cut up my marshmallows (or try to use minis) because the large ones take so long to melt. I estimate about 4 mini's per large mallow. Once everything is all melted, dump in pan and refrigerate about 2 hours until firm, then pull it out and cut it up.

My other favorite is Marbled Orange Fudge (which is actually not too bad for you either). Think creamsicle fudge. Yep. It's full of awesome. The only thing I do different from the exact recipe is we reduce the orange extract down to 1.5 tsps. Which, right now I know your thinking - why? Well, if you like strong orange flavor leave the 3. If you want more creamsicle ice cream bar flavor, knock it down to 1.5. I also always add more food coloring until it's the shade of orange I want. So feel free to play around. It makes a lot, and it's very, very rich. So make sure you plan on sharing! The first time I made this, we split the pan in half with another family, and we both ended up throwing half away. You can't eat more than one piece at a time!

2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 pkg (10 to 12 oz) white baking chips
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme
3 tsp orange extract
12 drops yellow food coloring
9 drops red food coloring

1. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in chips and marshmallow creme until smooth.

2. Remove 1 cup and set aside. Add extract and food coloring to the remaining mixture; stir until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Pour reserved marshmallow mixture over the top; cut through mixture with a knife to swirl. Cover and refrigerate until set.

3. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into 1 inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 1/2 pounds, 1 - 1 inch cube

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm not Dead

I'm not dead, ya'll. I promise. Just up to my eyeballs in Spanish and calculus. Which isn't a good place to be. I have about 20 different posts written, but they all need some serious work. Because they are all blah. Lots of whining. Lots of moaning. Lots of groaning.

I don't want a permanent reminder of the suckiness of my life as of lately. (Well parts of my life anyway). But guess what? I have one week from today and no more school until mid January. I get 6 glorious weeks off to recharge, refocus, finish unpacking and clean up a guest room and turn it into an office.

Oh yeah, and there might be rumors of blog posts too. : )

Friday, November 11, 2011

5 Question Friday

It's been a week of crazy around here. But then again school is going on, so that's nothing new. Between work, school, and life in general things are super busy. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, because them I'm on the back side of this semester. And I'm most certainly ready for this to be over with. I hate my classes, and I just can't seem to find the umf to study like I should be.

No big plans this weekend, except homework. I know, try not to jump for joy.

Don't forget to leave your porch light on today to honor our veterans and the sacrifices that they have made.

1. What's the last thing you spent too much money on?
Groceries. I haven't really bought anything lately that hasn't been essential, so I'm guessing that would be what I have spent too much money on. But seriously - it's too much money considering I walked out with 4 bags and it was $162. Apparently I bought caviar and prime rib, instead of chicken.

2. What celeb chef would you want to make you dinner?
Pioneer Woman. She doesn't do weird. She doesn't do fancy gourmet stuff (except every now and then) but I could have her refrain. Rachel Ray would be fun, she seems like she would be a lot of fun to cook with. But then again, to someone who measures out everything, the dumping stuff in the palm of my hand would bug me. Then I would probably offend her when I gave her measuring cups as a thank you gift.

3. Where do you hide things when visitors pop over or do you let them see the real deal?
Well, that depends. If they tell me they are coming and warn me a week in advance, then I don't hide anything. Because I clean it all up.

But for the most part I don't have to hide anything. John and I are both fairly neat and tidy, so except for school books that are just piled around and mail that neither of us seems to be able to go through and dispose of when it comes in, there aren't too many messes to worry about hiding.

4. Who is your oldest living family member?
Um..I don't know. I don't know if it's my grandmothers sisters, or who it is. How's that for knowing your family.

5. What is your favorite DQ treat and/or Sonic drink combo (ie: cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper)? I'm thinking about ice cream and it's 8:37am. Oops. I'm a blizzard fan and a vanilla ice cream cone fan. If I go to DQ it's one of those two. The blizzard flavor varies, but not by much. Oreo, cheesecake or cookie dough. No chocolate syrup please! Just ice cream and oreos, or cheesecake or cookie dough. Don't screw it up by adding chocolate syrup. If I wanted chocolate ice cream I would have asked for it.
Sonic -probably a cherry limeade. Now I'm thinking about those too. At least it's ok to think about something to drink at 8:40am. But alas, I'm stuck with water.
Have a great weekend! If your bored, I know where you can find some *free* awesome activities to occupy your time. Calculus, Spanish, History of Rock and Roll, I've got it all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 Question Friday

I know, I know two posts in one week. Don't fall over from shock.

I'm still fighting that cold from 3 weeks ago. I go from being completely exhausted to a zombie. It's a pick and choose kind of thing. I figure I should go back to the doctor, but I just don't have time. I'm trying to save a Spanish grade and a calculus grade. I'm so very, very thankful that after next semester my math classes will be non-existent.

This weekend doesn't bring big plans. Just hanging out and doing homework. Well and a much needed trip to the grocery store unless a sandwich with moldy bread, crunchy, crusty cheese and condiments is your food of choice. Or an apple. I do have apples. I'm not sure where they came from, but there are apples and milk. Mostly because there is a CVS across the street from my house and that's convenient for milk.

1. What movie do you love to quote?
I'm not much of a movie quoter. I'm a movie watcher. My husband however quotes Elf often. Maybe he should feel this one out.

2. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?
Yep. Well, it was a dirt bike, but close enough. Yes, my mom knew about it. Yes, I wore a helmet. And the overly cautious person in me wouldn't go more than 20 miles per hour. So the only thing I was in danger of was skinning my knees.

3. What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Read. There is nothing better than curling up in a comfy chair and reading. I don't get to do it often enough and I miss it. I would rather read books for fun than for school any day of the week.

My second favorite thing to do is cook. I don't know why. So if I'm home all day and it's rainy there is usually something extra yummy for dinner.
4. Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts, or one really big, (expensive) gift?
To be honest, I've gotten to the point that I prefer nothing. We have done wish lists with my family in the past and I love doing that. I list things I want, regardless of price, and I'm always thrilled, because the gift was something that I already wanted. As long as it's something that I want, or something that the giver knows that I will use, price doesn't matter to me.
5. Do you ever lose track of days and show up somewhere wrong?
Not yet, but there is a first time for everything. If I don't start getting some sleep, I might start doing this more often than I will admit too. Think my boss will mind if I take a nap? Think I could tell him I thought it was Saturday when I get caught?

Probably not, but a girl can dream.

Have a Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Opportunity of a Lifetime

So yesterday sometime a week or two ago (oops) you got the background story on the Dean's List.

Let me give you the story on the Congressional Internship that I was invited to participate in.

So I get this email from someone telling me about this internship in Washington, DC where you work with a member of congress for a semester as an intern.

It's a big deal, you live in a house with other interns from the same college and you all work on Capital Hill for a whole semester. How freaking cool is that?

Really cool.

It's so cool that I debated, and I wondered and I tried to imagine what kind of opportunities would be opened up to me if I were to apply and be selected. Because even though they sent me the email, I still had to apply and be accepted to get selected to go.

Then I prayed about it. Then I told my husband. Then I told everyone on facebook about it. And how I wasn't going.


It's the chance of a lifetime, it's the opportunity of a lifetime. Just not mine. Part of me would have liked to have gone, just for the experience. Plus to have lived in Washington DC for a semester, and played tourist on the weekends to all the fabulous places nearby, it would have been wonderful. It would have been breathtaking. But I couldn't imagine doing all of that stuff without John. I couldn't imagine giving up my life here, for a temporary life there. I couldn't imagine putting all my heart into it, when it wouldn't be.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime for someone else. Some other student at Tech has dreamed about this internship. They want it so bad that they can taste it. I know how that feels. I know how it feels to want something so badly, to have dreamed about it, to have planned your life around it, that when the opportunity slips through your fingers you wonder what just happened. Your entire existence is questioned, every plan, every dream, everything is suddenly very different than the life you wanted. It's hard having to pick up and move forward from that. It's hard to give up on something that you want that badly.

And deep down, when I had that realization, I knew that I couldn't take that dream away from someone else. I couldn't do it because it would be a good opportunity for me, but my heart just wasn't in it. I wanted to go for purely selfish reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the actual internship. My heart wouldn't have been in the internship. Sure, I would have still worked my butt off, but it's different when your heart isn't in it. There's no passion, there's no joy, it's just mundane and routine. And life's to short to have given up 5 months of my life for something that my heart wasn't fully into, when there was another student whose heart is set on going.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime, just not mine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dean's List

So I'm only like a month late, but I've been busy, you know doing homework. Trying to make the Dean's List next semester, again and probably failing misreably.

So yeah, I totally made the Dean's List. Barely, but it still counts.

I was walking out of History of Rock and Roll when I got the email. I had made the Dean's List. My very first semester in college in 12 years.

I needed that. I earned that. But I still needed it.

This semester I have been bogged down. I'm still trying to deal with losing Papa, which hit me a lot harder than I anticipated. Plus I have October to deal with and that reminds me of the grandparents that celebrate birthday's this month, that I'm celebrating without them. And Christmas and with the past few months of family issues with the in-laws, this semester has been draining. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

Last semester was draining too, but it was more a "I'm too old, too fat, too stupid, to be going to college". It was hard on someone who doesn't like doing things alone to, in fact learn how to do things alone. It was hard learning how to ask for help. It was awesome seeing the final grades, knowing that I had survived my first semester.

Yet this semester, I don't enjoy many of my classes. They aren't things that interest me, I don't like most of my instructors, and I find myself having a "I don't care attitude". So that reception, that honor, meant a lot to me. It proved to me that I can do anything I want to do. Anything. All I have to do it.

So many of my friends made the Dean's list and blew off my accomplishment, as "no big deal". But to someone who hadn't stepped foot inside a classroom in 12 years, to someone who worked full time and went to college, it was a big deal. It is a big deal. And I earned it.

I went to the cheesy reception and all. I got my gorgeous certificate and I'm very proud of it, and the hard work it took to get there.

Hopefully it won't be my only cheesy reception. I'm hoping to be sitting in that seat next semester. So I probably better go hit the books.

Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Question Friday

I'm so glad that this week is in the books. It's been a tough week to stay focused and on top of things while I have still felt icky. So glad that things to appear to be on the mend.

No big plans this weekend, I have a Spanish exam on Monday and a calculus exam next Thursday, so my weekend will be filled with...wait for it...STUDYING!!! Yeah, still not thrilled about it.

I'm not planning on much, simply so I can try and finish kicking this yucky gunk I've been fighting to the curb. Good news is all that sickness and no appetite/everything tastes yucky, I've managed to lose 5 pounds in the last week for a grand total of 11 pounds in 2 weeks. So part of me kinda wants it to hang around. Just for the weight loss.

Sad, but true. What we chunky people will do to lose a few pounds.

Have a good weekend!

1. Where do you escape to when you've had enough?

I cry. When I hit rock bottom, I cry. It's what I do. Then I clean. Because cleaning and scrubbing gives me time to think whatever is stressing me out over and it gives me a chance to figure out a new way to approach things. Plus I get a clean house as a bonus. But we are talking serious cleaning, like scrubbing the grout lines with a toothbrush and organizing every nook, cranny, and crevice. So my husband knows when something is bugging me, and thankfully he either pitches in or hides. But he never questions. He's probably afraid that I'll pin him down and scrub him too.

2. What shows are you watching this fall?

Well, see, when I decided to become a "real" full time college student, I sorta had to cut TV down to the bare minimum. So I have tons of stuff on the DVR, most of which will probably be deleted before I ever get around to watching it. I kept CSI, Criminal Minds, The Pioneer Woman, and The Little Couple. There are other things that are DVRed, but those are the only ones that I attempt to watch on a semi regular basis. Everything else can wait until Christmas break, or I'll delete it.

3. What was the longest roadtrip you've ever taken and where did you go?

Minnesota. Oh my. In a bus with no a/c in the middle of July with 25 other teenagers. It took us 2 days. It was miserable. Because of the hot, but the trip itself was awesome. We worked as youth counselors at a camp in Minnesota for a week with our church youth group. That week opened all of our eyes to the suffering that goes on for other kids and people in the world. We all went home changed.

4. Do you plan on taking your kids to Disney World?

Nope, I'm not paying for a ticket for a dog. I love my puppies, but no. Now, my husband and I would both love to go. And I'm willing to pay for his ticket.

That might be an awesome way to celebrate our 15th Wedding Anniversary. Disney Style. It would be cool. It would be groovy.

I think I just might have to look into that.

5. What is something people would surprised to know about you?
*That I'm not much of a junk food person.
*That I don't like speaking to or in front of large groups of people I don't know.
*That it takes me a while to warm up to you, but once I do, I don't shut up.
*I like things to be done my way, and if you don't do it my way, I will often redo it when you aren't looking so that it's done "right".
*I don't like to shop. I like new clothes, but I hate the process of acquiring them. I have to be in the right frame of mind to shop.
*I don't like to get up and eat breakfast like everyone says you should. I like to get up and eat breakfast about 90 minutes after I get up. But I won't get up early enough so that I can do this while still at home.
*I like frilly clothes, lace, ribbon, bows. Yet, I'm not so frilly that I don't mind playing with cars in the dirt.
*It takes me 30 minutes to take a shower, get dressed, fix my hair, put on makeup and be ready to walk out the door. It takes me longer to take a shower than any of the rest of that process.
So you got more than one. Consider it a bonus look into my head. Probably one that you are wishing you could undo right about now.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm alive...and coughing

Well, I know that I've been MIA for almost a week now.  I finally caved and went to the doctor last Friday night (after my Dean's List reception (read about that next week)). I figured that it was going to be bad. My ear hurt, my throat hurt, I had an awful cough, I was just miserable in general.

Instead I left with a shot in the hip and 2 infections. Sinus and Upper Respiratory. Beautiful. So a $35 co-pay and $76 in drugs later.

And lots of sleepless nights and general feeling like poo.

I'm sorta better. I still have this lingering cough, but for the most part, today, I feel almost normal. Almost.

I still have no appetite, nothing tastes like it should, and my asthma is pissed at me for not going to the doctor that it stages random revolts, but other than that. I'm good.

I'm feeling good enough that my husband has been sending me suggestive text messages all day about a marital summit in our bedroom tonight and I haven't been telling him that the building is being repaired.

Now, I'm off to do calculus homework! I'll see you tomorrow for 5 Question Friday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Question Friday

I'm still sick and instead of getting better, I think I now have an ear infection. So my Friday evening will be spent sitting in the walk in clinic getting the good drugs. Hopefully they are ninja drugs, because whatever this stuff is deserves to have it's butt kicked.

No big plans this weekend, mostly because I have a ton of homework due Saturday and Sunday. So I will spend most of my weekend doing homework. Fun. Or not. Hopefully I'll also be feeling better.

Today, however, I'm going to a reception this afternoon honoring me. For making the Dean's List. My first semester of college in 12 years and I pulled that off. Yeah, don't worry, I'm not sure how I did it either.

1. Do you prefer your ice cream in a bowl or in a cone?

That depends. Every now and then a yummy waffle cone is fabulous. But the regular old sugar cones. No thanks. I try to be home when I'm to that point and give my dogs the cardboard flavored sugar.

Otherwise I'm a bowl girl.

2. What three things do you love the smell of?

Rain, Scentsy, my husband's cologne.

I have loved the way that rain smells since I was a kid. My favorite rain smell memory: I was about 7 or 8 and I was outside riding my bike and my grandfather was watering the orchard. It was getting dark and starting to thunder, so I headed back to the house. My grandfather and I sat outside for the longest time just smelling the rain. I was always asking questions about why this and why that and I remember asking him why rain smelled. I can't remember his answer, but I remember sitting there with the wind blowing and that smell.

Any of my favorite Scentsy Scents are awesome. (Power girl - you still haven't picked out your free warmer!)

And my husband just smells yummy. It makes me want to chase him down and rip his clothes off and ....sniff. (Mind out of gutter.)

3. Giftcards or no? (In regards to gift giving...)

Absolutely. It's the perfect gift. Especially if you get one to a place they like. They pick out the gift, and their happy and your happy that they are really happy and not fake happy.

Plus they are helpful when your a busy college student and don't have time to shop like they used too before school.

4. What sports did you play in high school if any and do you still play them?

I was a band nerd.
I'm not competitive enough to have the drive to play sports. I don't like coaches being bossy to me either. Yeah, I was that kid that was out in the field chasing butterflies. In Jr. High.

5. Were you in band in high school? What instrument did you play?

I was a band nerd. Hello, my name is Abby and I'm a band geek. I'm that person, "And this one time at band camp..." Yep that's me. Hi! (Waves)

And no, I don't still play. I sold my clarinet many, many moons ago. I don't miss it.

UPDATE: Good news. Went to the doctor. Got drugs. Back to normal by Monday. Yeah!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Positive Thinking

A couple of weeks ago, I was misreable. My head felt like it was being squeezed in a vice, my sinuses felt like that were going to explode great big green goo, and my eyes, well, let's just say I know why chihuahua dogs eye balls stick out like that do. Blasted sinus pressure!

So I did what any rational adult does. I whined about it on facebook.

Because I'm lazy and I feel like I'm thisclose from death, I won't go back and find the exact quote, but here is the high points.

"Dear Sinus Infection, I'm really busy right now and can't handle any sickness. I'm free Oct. 8-11, Nov 23-27 and anytime after December 13th. Can we please work something out and reschedule? Thanks, your host."

I woke up the next morning feeling much better, which was great because I had a test a few days later and I didn't want it to be taken under the influence of sinus medication.

So my body didn't exactly get the details right, and waited until Sunday for the ickiness to start in. Asthma, runny nose, cough.

Oh great.

After a jog through the rain, and sitting in wet clothes for 2 hours, I figured I was kinda screwed, but still. How's that for coincidence. The weekend that I say I'm free to diseases, I'm actually sick.

So no more joking about rescheduling diseases and infections. Nope. Now, it's I won't ever be sick. I won't ever be sick. I won't ever be sick. Ok that's probably not realistic, so how about, I will be awesome tomorrow because I have class from 9am to 3:30pm. I will not be the sneezy, snotty, sore throat, cough infested person that I am today. I will be 100% better tomorrow.

How's that for positive thinking.

Send prayers too, just in case. And I'll take cold medicine too, because let's face it, I want to breathe today too.

Monday, October 10, 2011


*If you haven't done so, please read yesterday's post Puzzling, in order to fully grasp the story behind today's post.

Have I lowered my expectations of God?

I tell people that God can do anything. And I believe that he can. In their lives. I've witnessed miracles in other people's lives, and even in my own. I've witnessed my grandfather, whom doctor's told us wouldn't make it through the night, live another 11 years. I've witnessed a good friend's daughter, born very, very early not only survive the first few weeks of her life, but thrive as a happy 5 year old. I've witnessed a wreck that changed my husband's life, not completely destroy him.

Yet I'm not 100% sure that I haven't "given up". I didn't get the results that I wanted, so I just assumed that it wasn't meant to be. That it wasn't the way that things were planned to go. That the grand design of my life, just meant I wasn't supposed to have a child of my own.

Instead, today, I'm questioning whether I gave up. If I simply got tired of the drugs, the emotions, the everything and gave up.

After debating about it, I know that I was the one who lowered their expectations. I know that after the 3rd round of drugs (and the craziness that went with that) that I was tired. I was beaten, I wasn't sure how much longer I could stand to do the treatments. They had taken a toll emotionally, physically, mentally and financially. I was tired. I was tired of hoping for a miracle, praying that this month would be "the" month. I was tired.

To be honest, I'm not even sure my marriage would have survived. We were both so tired of performing and we were so drained financially that it wasn't even funny. I think that my head knew that my heart needed a break. That I needed to figure out what Plan B was going to be. Because let's face it. There wasn't ever an option for Plan A to not go as planned. We were going to get pregnant. There simply hadn't been any other alternative. Then when Plan A wasn't going the way I envisioned it, I just didn't know what to do or where to go anymore. I didn't even know who I was anymore.

So for months I wallowed in self pity. I had gained weight, I couldn't give my husband the child that he wanted, I was useless. It took months to crawl out from under that. It took months for me to realize that I had more to offer than my ability to get knocked up.

Did I quit believing that God could perform miracles? No. I just didn't believe that He was going to hand one out in our case. I didn't believe that I was going to get pregnant.

Did I lower my expectations? Maybe. I honestly don't know. I know that in the weeks and months, and even as I type this, I wonder if I gave up too easily. I wonder if I quit fighting. I'll always have that to wonder about though. Would one more treatment have done it? Would something different have done it? I don't know. I probably won't ever know the answers to those questions.

I know I stopped hoping. That I gave up. But unless you've been there done that, you can't begin to imagine the hope that you put out while you wait on hold for the results of a blood pregnancy test. I held my breath. I gripped the phone, I prayed. I begged, I tried not to cry. I tried to imagine getting the good news. Instead of the apologetic voice on the other end of the phone telling you that your results were negative that they would transfer to scheduling to set up your next appointment. Now, I can imagine how much those people who scheduled those appointments hated their job. Because I know that I can't be the only one who choked back tears while they were on the phone.

My expectations weren't met, but they certainly don't feel like they have been lowered.  Instead I feel like they are higher now than they were then.

I had to come up with Plan B. I had to figure out how I was going to spend the rest of my life now that I wasn't going to have a child's needs to deal with.

My expectations today, are high. I expect a lot out of myself. I expect to get good grades in school. I expect to study hard. I expect to help cook dinner. I expect my husband to be there to cheer me on. If any of that doesn't happen, I will certainly be disappointed, but at the same time, most of those, the fault is with me. I don't expect God to drop a baby on my doorstep (a million dollars yes, a baby, no(kidding)). I don't expect to ever get pregnant. If I do it will be a miracle. And I'm pretty sure that if it's going to happen, it will be a miracle.

The only thing I think I lowered is hope. I have forgotten how to fully hope and believe that something will work out the way I want it too. I just can't find it in myself to hope. At least for a baby.

Even though my hope is definitely lower, my expectations of getting pregnant are too. However, I do know, that if by some miracle I were to get pregnant, God would be the only one who had anything to do with it.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Have you ever put together a puzzle? You have all these pieces of various shapes and you are trying to make them fit together to make one glorious picture. And the bragging rights that come with having the patience to see it through until the end.

My husband and I have recently started attending church on a regular basis again.

I know, I know. This is something that we should have been doing anyway, but sometimes, we needed the rest more often than we needed to get up early on a Sunday morning. Selfish - absolutely. Did we miss going? More than you can imagine.

Apparently going to church is good blogging material. *Note to self - go to church more = less writer's block.

Got it!

Yet, sometimes church is a painful reminder of what is missing in our life. They talked yesterday, often of raising children. And as I squirmed in my seat and looked around the room, I wondered if there was someone else in the room who could relate. Or if we were the only ones there. I imagined their discomfort. I watched the young, unmarried guy sitting to our left, and the young unmarried girl sitting next to me, and I wondered, as they both set there listening intently if they had any idea how life could be so cruel. You could see them both mentally making notes about their future children. And all I could think about was "if you only knew".

Neither one of them have any guarantees that they will have a child. One of them might just find themselves in our boat.

See we are that one piece of the puzzle that you are sure fits right "there", and you turn it and turn it and try to make it fit, but nothing lines up like it should, there are gaps, there are pegs where holes are supposed to be. We can't relate, and instead of actually listening to everything that our pastor said this morning, I only half way paid attention. Because all I could think about what how I would never fit.

We can't won't go to Sunday School, because the college class is too old for both of us, the newly married - well, we will be married 12 years this year, so I'm pretty sure we are past that stage. Well, the next stage - young families. Then parents of students. Then the golden oldies. They discuss parenting and raising children. It's hard enough to walk into Tar.get and see the tiny Halloween costumes and not remember what I'm missing out on, let alone sit through and participate in a class that I can't relate too.

So all the while I'm sitting there, thinking about what great parents we would make, and how I wish that the pastor would understand that not every single person in his congregation can relate. Some of us will never have to raise a child to obey Jesus. Some will never have that opportunity.

The bad thing is that, me, being me, wants to fit. I want the puzzle piece to just magically fall into place. I want to be able to not sit there and think about how I can't relate and how much that sucks. I want to be able to follow through and look into adoption. I want to have a child of my own. I don't want to be that one piece of the puzzle that feels like an "outsider" or that I'm some how flawed.

Yes, I realize that I'm not "flawed", that it's just all part of the grand scheme of things, but at the same time, it would be nice to not feel like an outsider, because I can't relate. I realize that it's not intentional, it's just a fact of life.

Thankfully, at some point, my attention focused back in on what the pastor was saying. If my husband wasn't "busy" with something else that the pastor was doing, I probably would have walked out. Because it's a profound thought. He was using an analogy about how we have lower expectations for ourselves, for our children and he questioned whether or not we had the same issue with God.

Have I lowered my expectations of God?

Read tomorrow's post for that answer. Bring tissues. It's a tear jerker.

Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Question Friday

Thank goodness! It's been a long week of exams, homework, tutoring and procrastination. Whew. I'm exhausted.

We don't have much going on this weekend. Tomorrow is Tech football, so the hubs has to work the majority of the day. I think I'll shop stay home and study. I have got to find some time to get some of my Scentsy stuff taken care of so I can have my open house in 3 weeks (gasp). That's probably more realistic vision of my day tomorrow.

The fair is going on here, and I'm thinking we might put in an appearance tomorrow night, while the rest of the city is glued to their television watching the football game. I got one word for you people - DVR.

Have a wonderful weekend.

1. Dream job...realistic and completely unrealistic.

Accounting. That's my realistic one. I love the stuff, which is a good thing since that's what I'm going to school for. I am so ready to start taking accounting classes, because they are just so much fun. No, there wasn't sarcasm included in that last statement.

No I'm not crazy, why do you ask?

Unrealistic. Retired and rich. So that I could travel and go on vacations and see all these things and go shopping instead of paying the bills. Because I would have people who paid the bills. And I would have more money than the national debt and it would double every week. Wait, the national debt kinda does that now, so maybe the government could just throw that money at me. Who do I talk to about that?

2. Do you fart in front of your significant other?

Yep. He's a guy. He does guy things. When we are at home, or in the car together, fine. But when others are present. Nope. It's rude.

And never, under any circumstances fart at my grandparents house. They are just too snooty to do something like that. Ever.

3. What's the furthest you've ever traveled from home? How far and where was it?

I've been to Minnesota and Pennsylvania and Florida and California. I don't know which was the farthest, but they were all far away from home. But then again, school is far away from home and it's only across town.

4. How do you celebrate birthday for your kids? Family only or friends? ... Alternate for those without kiddos: How did you celebrate birthdays as a kid?

We do birthday dinners. On my side of the family the only "kid" that is nearby is my 10 year old cousin. They live 2 hours away, so we don't always get to celebrate a birthday with him. But we try to have dinner for the birthday's. Which I love.

We used to get together with John's parents and sister and her fiance for birthday dinners, but since we became evil, we haven't done that since February. We weren't invited to the June birthday, we didn't invite them to the September birthday (mine, considering I didn't get a phone call, but a message via my husband I'm kinda glad I didn't) and I'm guessing we won't be invited anymore. Which is fine. 90 minutes of walking on eggshells isn't my idea of a birthday celebration anyway.

5. Fave thing about fall?
Cooler weather. Halloween, it's my favorite spooks birthday. The fair, my birthday, and football.
I don't care if I see the football or not. But there are good memories spent at football games with my grandfather. And those memories get me through October when we celebrate his birthday, his wife's birthday and their anniversary, as well as the day we lost him. I don't know that I will ever be able to watch a football game in that stadium ever again.
Oh, and I can't forget the awesome temperatures, because it's great when it's 54 in the morning and 98 in the afternoons. In September. Because it's not like that doesn't confuse a body.
Happy Weekend. You have until Midnight to enter my giveaway. Other wise, my good friend "anonymous" gets the warmer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I don't realize how lucky I am, or how much my husband loves me until days like today.

He is willing to sacrifice his happiness, his career with a nation wide company, to change jobs for $20,000 more per year, so that I could quit my job and simply worry about school.

I'm not saying it wouldn't be a blessing. It would. It would make my stress level decrease incredibly.

And he would give up everything he has now, simply because he is tired of seeing me tired.

If that's not love, I don't know what is.

My only response to him: do what makes you happy. I'll work twice as hard at school if I have to, if you want to stay where you are. I'll make sacrifices that I need to so I can do this.

His response: if it makes your life easier, it can only make my life better.

I'm so glad I married that man. I love him with all my heart.

My only regret. That his family wasn't a colony of flies on the wall for that conversation. They might have learned something about the kind of person that their son, brother, and grandson is in those moments.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today is my 32nd birthday. I have managed to add another candle to my cake.

I have debated for days about what I was going to write about, yet as I stare at the blinking cursor I'm know that what I'm writing wasn't what I had planned. But those posts always end up being my favorite, probably because they come from my heart.

So let me impart some wisdom from the last year.

The past year has been full of suck. I knew that at some point we would have to say goodbye to more grandparents, it would be inevitable. It's that whole grand design of things. Yet, in my wildest dreams or worst nightmares I wouldn't have imagined that we would say goodbye to 2 grandfathers in the same year, let alone 3 months apart. I wouldn't have believed you if you could predict the future.

I would have been seriously wrong.

Then in between that we had to say goodbye to a dog.

And if your not an animal lover, right now you are thinking I'm crazy that "it's just a dog". But Bailey was so much more. He reminded me that there were things more important than homework and making sacrifices to get my degree. He reminded me that sometimes you have to dig out the microscope to find the good in others, but some microscopic amount can always be found. He was so abused and unloved that whatever microscopic amount of love we would dole out he was just enamoured with. He simply wanted to be loved. He was easy to love. He lived with us for over a year, and barked only once.

I hadn't wanted a big fuss for my birthday this year. Partly because of homework and the chaos that is currently my life. But today, I'm realizing the value of celebrating, because next month we will celebrate birthdays with out the birthday people and then again in February. And come October 9th, I would give anything for just one more birthday celebration with those people who aren't here anymore.

So instead of going to a study group and spending my birthday with complete strangers, I'm staying home and studying for an economics test with my husband instead. Because let's face it, we aren't promised another day and if something were to happen to me I wouldn't want John's last birthday memory be of me spending the night at the library and him at home alone. And if the situation were reversed, I don't want that to be last memory either.

Plus after the past year I think its more important today than any other to celebrate. Life is hard enough and short enough that we should celebrate everything, bad grades on economic tests included.

So tonight forget the scale, forget the calories, forget the season premiers on television, and forget the homework and have a piece of cake with someone you love tonight. Simply because you don't know if it will be your last or theirs. Because tonight, I would have given up every birthday present in the world, if I could have had a birthday dinner with Papa, Gangie, Darlin and even Bailey just one more time.

Now, I'm off to study for an economics test and hug my husband. Because I'm pretty sure that today has been an incredible day, made that way by my husband.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birthday Resolutions

I figured that in anticipation of my birthday tomorrow that we would do a list of resolutions. Things that I would like to change in the next year. It's important to have goals. I attempted to come up with 32, since that's how old I will be. Do you know how hard that is? So don't judge.

32. More exercise.
31. Less food (especially the bad for you, but oh so tasty stuff)
30. More blog posts.
29. Less homework (I'm not quite sure how I'm going to reach this goal, but it's something I definitely want to strive for.)
28. Much, much more sleep.
27. To move from a Junior to a Senior.
26. To figure out how to take naps at work, for days when #29 and #28 don't quite work out the way I want them too.
25. More sex. Because let's face it, guys have a good point, sex makes everything better.
24. More chocolate. Just in case the guys were wrong about the whole sex thing.
23. More alcohol, because let's face it, after a couple of margaritas you won't remember what was wrong in the first place.
22. More car washes. Because no one like to drive a dirty white pickup.
21. More filing at work. I won't die, even though those minutes feel like they might do me in.
20. More time with my puppies. Because they are lonely at home without me and they make me laugh.
19. To decide to only do a top 10 list for next year.
18. Because this is ridiculous.
17. Especially when I should be doing calculus homework and studying for an Economics exam.
16. Study more, procrastinate less. (See #17)
15. Read. I miss books that involve dead bodies, sex, mayhem, and romance.
14. More Wii. Because it's fun to say to my husband, I want to Wii.
13. Buy less cookbooks. They are hidden in every room in our house. I'm outta rooms.
12. Remember that it could be worse...turning 32 is better than the alternative of never making it at all.
11. Worry less about what people think, so I can write this blog the way I want too, and not be embarrassed to share it with the friends that I want too (who are more like family anyway).

And because I was goofy with the those above, I'll be good with the ones below.

10. Spend more quality time with my husband. We got to have some real conversations over the weekend and reconnect. My stress level went way down. He is good for me and keeps me from worrying so much.

9. Remember that there is more to life that school. That Papa was right, not everything worth knowing can be found in a college degree.

8. To stop trying to live up to someone else's expectations. My own expectations are way higher than their's are anyway. It's not the end of the world if I get a C. Even though I'm disappointed, it's a learning experience, and I have to remember to learn from that C as well as from that A.

7. To spend more time with my family. Since school has became my reality, often family affairs are missed out on for homework. The homework won't always be there...and neither will they. It's important to have the peace that I chose them over homework and that I had those moments when they are gone that I wouldn't have otherwise.

6. For my husband to be at peace with the relationship he has with his parents. I know that this one is a pipe dream, but I want him to be able to look at me and look at them and not resent either of us for the choices that he has had to make regarding his family. I want him to be able to sleep at night and know that their opinion doesn't matter, that my opinion doesn't matter, that all that matters is his happiness, and that no matter what, he knows how much I love him, and that out of all the boys in the world, I chose him.

5. To remember to celebrate the little things. Sometimes it is a celebration if you manage to fix dinner on time. The moments that we lay in bed snuggling before we fall asleep, the moments that we lay in the floor and play with the puppies, the moments that hit us at the oddest times.

4. To be amazed each day about the things that you miss. Like cleaning out microwave, the sound of laughter, the empty spot at the hardware desk, the smell of Beech Nut, and chocolate covered cherries underneath the Christmas tree. You don't remember the bad, simply the good. And it's ok for the tears to come when you walk into the hardware store or see the display of Chocolate covered cherries, even though it's been 9 years since you bought them.

3. To remember that my health is a priority too. Sometimes I put me on the back burner to take care of other people and other things. I have to remember that I'm important too and I should be at the top of my to-do list each day.

2. To remember to "see God". Without the friends, family and God, this past year would have been infinitely harder than it has been. The beautiful sunset, the pink tulips in the neighbor's yard, the warm day, the rain, my friend's laughter, my family's laughter, the nieces, nephews, and cousins delight in their care packages. Those things keep me sane, and they remind me that I'm not alone in the big, bad world.

1. To remember that there will be road blocks. There will be people telling me I can't. There will be obstacles. I can overcome each and every one of them. If only I have the desire to do so.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to....YOU!!!!

Because it's my birthday on Wednesday, and because everyone should get a present for putting up with my on my birthday, I'm giving you the opportunity to win your very own birthday present.

I have racked my brain about what to get me you.

Something to make you smell good. No.
Something kid friendly. No.
Something that will spice up your love life. No (plus apparently Tabasco sauce doesn't come in a lubricant).

So finally (and mostly because I'm a Scentsy consultant). I'm giving one lucky person the chance of a lifetime. Or at least an opportunity at free stuff.

Any warmer of your choice (found on my personal Scentsy Website) and 3 bars. Any warmer. Premium, mid-size, plug in. Whatever you want (that's why it's called "your choice"). Plus whatever 3 bars of scent you want, shipped directly to your house.

Here's the rules:

1. Comment on any post made this week. Any post from today, September 19th - September 23rd.
2. You must post your comment before midnight on Friday (Central time zone).
3. You can post a comment each day to guarantee more chances of winning. However,
4. You can only post one comment per day. So if you post 3 times on this post, you will only be counted once for today.  (Thanks to a computer nerd, I have ways of knowing if you are multiple hitting me.)
5. will be drawing the winner for me, and I will post the winner on Saturday morning. You must contact me no later than September the 28th, or the prize will be given to someone else.

Any questions? Comments? Concerns? Want to tell me how awesome I am? Or get my address to mail me a birthday present? Send me an email. My contact info is at the top of the page *hint* it's under contact info.

Good luck!


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